A north-east MSP has called on the Scottish Government to back up a new cancer campaign with more money for NHS Grampian.
A new bowel cancer campaign was launched yesterday with the message the disease can be beaten if detected early.
The idea is to encourage more people aged 50-74 to take part in the national bowel screening campaign by returning complete kits sent to their homes.
Currently 57% of bowel cancers are detected at the earliest stages and the new campaign hopes to increase that figure.
Health Secretary Alex Neil said: “We know that nine out of 10 people will survive bowel cancer if it is detected early. Completing and returning the home test is the simplest way to get checked – giving yourself the best possible chance of survival.
“However, only just over half of those eligible have taken the opportunity to get tested. Bowel cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, especially when it’s caught early, and taking the test helps us to do exactly that.”
North-east Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald called on the government to back-up the campaign with more money for NHS Grampian, which recently missed both the 62-day and 31-day cancer treatment targets.
He said nearly 10% of north-east patients referred for a colonoscopy had to wait more than eight weeks, with 42% waiting four to eight weeks.
“This delay is yet another symptom of the SNP’s underfunding of NHS Grampian, and undoes all the work achieved by public health campaigns like this one,” he said.
“Home screening must be supported by properly-funded clinics to provide a timely diagnosis if north-east residents are to have the best chance possible of surviving bowel cancer.”
Writing exclusively in the Press and Journal on Saturday, Mr Neil said NHS Grampian currently received £230million more than it did in 2007 and a new £120million cancer centre was to be built at Foresterhill.
The government was also working with the health board to help improve recruitment of specialist staff, he said.